New health care team announced for Kitchener-Waterloo, surrounding townships

The main entrance at the Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. Nick Westoll / File / Global News

A new local health team was announced for a large portion of Waterloo Region by the province on Tuesday.

Ontario says that after 18 months of engagement, it has approved the KW4 Ontario Health Team to serve the needs of the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo as well as the townships of Wellesley, Woolwich and Wilmot.

Read more: Province announces Cambridge North Dumfries Health Team

This announcement comes almost a year after a team was announced to serve Cambridge and North Dumfries.

It is all a part of the Ford government’s plan to merge 14 Local Health Integration Networks (and six health agencies) to cut costs. It claims there will be no impact on health care while cutting $350 million from the budget.

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The community and home care work of the LHINs will now be done by Ontario Health Teams such as KW4 and the one serving Cambridge-North Dumfries.

Read more: Ontario government starts merging health agencies, fires nine LHIN executives

The teams are also responsible for all of a patient’s care, including primary care, emergency, home and community care, palliative care, residential long-term care, and mental health and addictions services.

The two hospitals in Kitchener are among the lengthy list of organizations involved in KW4.

“The way these health care organizations, institutions and individuals have come together to form this Ontario health team has been an inspiration for me,” said Lee Fairclough, president of St. Mary’s General Hospital.

“The fact that this work occurred while all involved were simultaneously fighting the impacts of COVID-19 further inspires.”

— With files from Canadian Press

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